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tv   World Business Today  CNN  February 17, 2011 4:00am-5:00am EST

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>> cheryl, thank you very much. and i wish you all the very best, i really do. >> thank you. >> it must have been a difficult thing for you to have to endure and i hope it works out for you and you meet someone that you can trust. >> thank you very much. >> thank you.
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journalists is in the capital city and he joins me now on the phone. mansoor, can you describe the scene on the square? >> as i speak to you, for the past seven hours, since the start of the crackdown on the square, 20 ambulances were allowed to enter. this only has happened following a protest by all the medical doctors at the main complex in manama where they all chanted "down, down with the minister." after that, he was not allowing them to drive the ambulances and
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several ambulances were confiscated or one of them was confiscated this morning but now as i speak to you, 20 ambulances entered for the first time, the square and the surrounding area to collect injured people to treat people so this is the only good news that we have since the attack seven hours ago. >> what's the latest casualty number you have? >> reporter: i have three names with me. but i'm sure there are two or three more others that are already dead or about to be declared dead. the problem is because the organization of the hospital s has -- all doctors are doing everything and there is no central administration in the medical hospital. nobody's releasing anything. so basically what we're doing is the -- they are declaring someone dead, we have to speak personally to them. we spoke only to the three
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doctors who gave us three names and they are reporting that there are two or three more have dead but the number of injured are in the hundreds. private hospitals are calling citizens to say we have opened our doors free of charge, come to us. we'll treat you. there is a shortage of supplies for blood and the situation is really chaotic because people have never seen something like this in the history of bahrain. >> has the city come to a standstill? how are people functions every day? what about the banks? the shops, food? >> reporter: everybody has been told to go home. those people that attempted to go to the areas, the diplomatic area, the schools, the schools that are opened today, anybody who's gone to work, especially in manama and the surrounding areas, are being told to go home. people are out of jobs today and
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we have reports of some resignations that we cannot confirm but i can confirm only the resignation of a member of the national organization for human rights. he has resigned from the official post but he spoke to me personally and he said he resigned, protesting against the -- what happened today. there are news of others but i'm not reporting them unless i hear them personally from the source or they issue a statement. >> okay. journal hisself mansoor reporting from bahrain. those are the headlines. "world business today" starts now. good morning, from cnn london i'm charles hodson. and good afternoon from cnn
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hong kong i'm andrew stevens. the top stories this thursday, february 17th. bahrain is one of the middle east's financial hubs but this thursday, its capital is full of tanks and protesters. we'll gauge the impact of the unrest on business there and around the region. those demonstrations like others in egypt were organized through social media. the companies behind those services, the uprising, the uprisings in the middle east may be a double-edged sword. and this all comes as bahrain is buying land outside its borders. i think that aims to fill a shortfall in the production of staple foods. let's take you straight to the stock market action now here in europe. first, trading began just over an hour ago about 65 minutes ago. we were looking at slight gains and we'll look at the numbers but they have've turned to slight losses.
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really, everything pretty much close to the flat line. we're seeing quite a large number of results coming out and some major stocks are actually moving down like riccon and bmp on the paroba on the paris market and also losses for bae systems. a quick look at the currency markets which lot of weakness on the part of the u.s. dollar. rather interesting that this time of crisis we're not seeing dollar buying a little bit of dollar selling. we may see some more weakness from the dollar when the u.s. january consumer price inflation report comes out later today. and meanwhile, there we are, so seeing a little bit of strength -- 161 nearly for the pound which is strong for the cable, andrew. >> it's interesting if you look at japan, the dollar is a little bit stronger. charles, that is certainly helping the tokyo exchange. as you see, the nikkei is up by
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a quarter of 1%. it's now at a nine-month high. helped by the exporters, of course. the recent weakness in the yen and also by banking and tech stocks. it's been up for two straight days but the currency has been making up some losses. the positive mood spread to the rest of the region and gains were moderate as investors continue to take in a slew of corporate earnings' reports. one of the big ones which was around the region in a positive way with you quantas airways. the australian airline. that stock up in sydney by more than 5% of the company said that its first-half earnings more than quadrupled between july and september of last year, profits hitting 242 million, a rise of 315.5%, compared with the same period in 2009. this fell short of expectations though, although investors did take comfort in ceo alan joyce's strong full year earning's
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forecast. we'll have more from alan joyce later in the program. certainly, a strong number at quantas, helping lift airline stocks pretty much around the region, charles. okay. let's have a look at wall street on wednesday. we did see a rebound there for u.s. stocks. healthy figures on new-home construction and strong earnings report from deer and comcast helped to encourage investors a loss of about half a percent for the dow. nasdaq off by .75 and the broader s&p -- wait a minute. it is up for the dow. up for the nasdaq and up for the s&p 500. up by two-thirds of a percent. on thursday, markets look set for a flat open. here's where u.s. futures stand in the premarket action up just very slightly with the s&p 500, the broader market a little bit
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down but not by very much. the open, at least, this is the future's trading, andrew. charles, let's bring people up to date on the latest developments in bay rain. three people are dead and hundreds more injured following a police crackdown on demonstrators camped out at a national monument in the capitol manama. bahrain's military is asserting control over the entire city. dozens of armored personnel carriers with machine guns rolling into the central manama in the early hours after dawn and the military's intervention represents a sharp change in the government to the protesters. mostly shiites wants democratic reform and an end to what they describe at "discrimination." the crackdown came swiftly around 3:30 a.m. local time on thursday. many protesters were asleep in
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pearl square when police surrounded the area and fired teargas, stun grenades, rubber bullets and pellet guns. bahrain has mostly shiite. foreign workers make up 60% of the labor force and young shiite's say they feel economically and socially marginalized. >> the stock market is lower and the index is down about a quarter of 1%. this is a slight market, only about nine or so shares trade an the bahrain market. around the rest of the region most markets are closed for the profit mohammad's birthday. charles? let's have a look at other prices which are perhaps likely to move. nymex, having moved to more than $85 a barrel we're now off
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slightly by about a quarter of a dollar. bahrain has long been considered one of the persian gulf's most reliable nations to do business and has one of the most diversified economies in the gulf region and well-developed communication and transportation facilities. oil production and refines account for 60% of the exports. but bahrain has another large export and that's aluminum. bahrain is also an international banking and financial center and the regional headquarters of many multinational firms that do business in the gulf states. so anti-government protests driven by economic hardship, just ahead, will saudi arabia's oil wealth make a difference? we'll look at how the kingdom is trying to address the society's economic imbalances. you can make it in just 14 minutes. mmmh, orange chicken. great. i didn't feel like going out anyway. [ male announcer ] wanchai ferry. restaurant quality chinese in your grocer's freezer.
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capital. pictures here in a short time ago in manamar, bahrain, the capital showing military vehicles being deployed following the crack drodown and clearing of people's square and we'll be bringing more to you on the story as we hear it. welcome back from cnn hong kong and london, this is "world business today." bahrain is one of several nations where protesters are protesting against the government. mass demonstrations have toppled the governments of libya, and egypt. libya, algeria and iran have faced demonstrations. in libya, bloggers are calling for protesters after clashes with police. in yemen, students there are planning to stage what they're calling a "day of rage" protest on friday. following weeks of street
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demonstrations in the capital sana and aidan. and the gulf region is largely driven by bread and butter issues. people are dissatisfied with their daily qualities of life. saudi arabia, oil wealth has helped to keep the peace to some extent. as our report from abu dhabi shows us, this ve increasing food costs. >> revolutionary change in egypt sparking fears among neighboring middle east governments are further pro-democracy campaigns inside their borders. here in the gulf, there have been protests in yemen and bahrain but most gulf citizens benefit from the state's wealth with housing, education, health care, all taken care of. and authorities hope that will keep a lid on widescale social unrest. like the rest of the middle east, a large portion of the
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population is under the age of 25. and entering the workforce. so creating jobs to absorb this population is a foremost economic challenge. particularly for the gulf's most populous country, saudi arabia. >> yes, there is unemployment, 10% unemployment in saudi arabia, that's a fact. we have youth unemployment, certainly, more than 25%. 70% of saudis are below the age of 29 years of age. so out of economic necessity, saudi arabia needs to have more people participating. >> reporter: it's the biggest economy in the middle east but there is a realization that the kingdom's vast oil wealth won't last forever. it's been keen to diversify its economy away from oil, building on manufacturing, logistic and education. but for now, not all its wealth is being spread across its population. >> one of the main causes of discontent among the local population in saudi arabia is that a lot of the oil revenues
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hadn't always trickled down to them. if one leaves the main cities of the eastern province and goes to the remoter regions there's still a lot of poverty. >> reporter: the government says it's trying to rectify that with a $400 billion investment plan, extending education, health care and transport links across the remote less-developed regions. experts say with discontent among the youth in north africa, saudi arabia's needs to address its economic concerns as more pressing. >> saudi arabia is aware. it's not suddenly that they're faced with these issues. and the leadership is trying to tackle those issues. nobody can afford to be complacent so they have toe look at how they can distribute more. how they can include more people into the economies. >> reporter: still, ripples of dissent exist in saudi arabia, particularly among the shia population concentrated in the country's oil-rich eastern
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province. >> if there's any uprising or discontent or security issues, that will have an impact on saudi arabia's ability to export crude. >> reporter: for now, their petrol dollars have allowed it to spend on the future and given the protest, they say the grievances of the ew people in the gulf are more likely to be heard. cnn, abu dhabi. now, it's overcomedy versity and is flying high again. we'll be hearing from the boss of quantas, allen joyce, the company's soaring profits and the outlook as the airline moves beyond its recent crisis involving its brand new fleet of airbus jumbos. stay with us.
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welcome back, you're watching "world business today." the australian flag carrying
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qantas said their first-half profits have soared. earnings more than quadrupled to $242 million against the same period in 2009. that figure fell short of expectations as the company reported a drop in its international business. higher fuel costs plus engine problems on the a-380 super jumbo jet in november ate into first-half profits but despite these setbacks, dwaun as the ceo alan joyce says he's placed with the results and expects greater growth in the second half. >> qantas did come back for a low day so we saw the biggest improvement in profitability coming from the qantas segment which was over 170% improvement year-on-year and we saw jets and frequent flyer having the best periods in their history. we saw jet star's performance increase by 14% for a record profitability. what's great for the group is that each of those segments are
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approximately making the same amount of money. so they're equally contributing to the overall group. qantas has most of our assets. so we do need qantas' performance to continue to improve. and we are seeing continuation in that improvement. domestically, we're seeing yield premium return to the pre-gfc levels and our domestic performance is very good. our focus is on how we improve the international business going forward and get their leverage in that business. >> joyce also spoke tbt aairlines' losses. it was forced to ground their a-380 super jumbo fleet in november after one of the rolls-royce engines exploded and forced and emergency landing in singapore. >> we lost a lot of international capacity when we grounded the aircraft. we had disruption to a large number of customers which we apologized for and as a consequence of us taking that action. but total cost to qantas this
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financial year will be $80 million. the results would have been better in the first half by $55 million if it wasn't for the grounding of the aircraft. what we're also seeing is the damage to the aircraft in singapore is over $100 million. that cost is fully recovered by insurance or the agreements that we have with the engine manufacturer. >> now the engine manufacturer is, in fact, rolls-royce. it makes the trent 900 engine. that was one that blew up in midair during the flight over indonesia in november. last week, rolls-royce said the disaster hit its profit syphoning $90 million from its full-year earnings. qantas crew on the flight managed to land the plane safely and were praised to their quick response to that problem. charles? popular protesters, maybe so good for the companies that run them. why social media sites are staying at arm's length from the wave open popular protest
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sweeping the middle east. that's coming up on "world business today."
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from cnn london, i'm charles hodson. and i'm andrew stevens at cnn hong kong. welcome back you're watching "world business today 37" the latest from bahrain. and the interior ministry there says that it did crackdown on growing anti-government protests because of illegal activities and complaints from residents. the ministry said its attempts to negotiate with the demonstrators had come to nothing. waves of police firing teargas, stun grenades, rubber bullets
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and pellet guns switched the protesters from a national monument in the center of the capital, manama, before dawn an thursday. at least three protesters were killed and hundreds more were injured. cnn can't confirm this video's authenticity because it came from social media but we can confirm the events did, indeed, occur. the mostly shiite protesters are demanding democratic reforms and economic opportunities from the nation's ruling sunni family. >> let's put bahrain on pause and have a quick look at european markets which are now just about 89 minutes into their trading day. slightly up at the start, slightly down half an hour ago and a split decision at the moment. but the london ftse, up slightly as is the xetra and a fifth of a percent to have zurich. >> and indeed, here in asia, the nikkei up at a nine-month high
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banking and tech stocks leading the way as it closed at a quarter of 1% higher. weakness in the yen helping the exporters so sensitive to the value of the yen, the japanese exporters which is such a big part of the japanese economy. now, the currency has been making up for some of the losses recent by but it's still reasonably weak. a positive mood around restoration. the hong kong hang seng up by two-thirds of 1%. shanghai up by a fraction. australia up as well. corporate results helping the sentiment here as we've been talking about qantas, profits up some 300%, which shows you the international economy is, indeed, looking pretty -- relatively pretty strong at the moment. >> so, looking through the australian end of the telescope they do. u.s. stocks are solidly higher on wednesday, strong earnings from deere and comcast
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and a optimistic reading on public growth published from the federal reserve's latest policy reading. that helped to add to a rosy feeling. dow up half a percent and nasdaq up .75 and the s&p is about halfway between the two up .63, andrew? inflag has policymakers around the world on alert. the u.s. federal reserve seems to be taking it in its stride, at least at the moment. america's producer price index rose to its highest rate in more than two years on january. the pbi up 8/10 of 1% implying inflationary pressures are increasing. these are the goods that leave the factory gate. a key number are the core ppi, that was up about a half of one percentage point and that was quite a lot higher than the expectations. most people are looking at 2/10 of 1% coming in at a half. that would normally be seen as
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troubling but the federal reserve is showing little concern and fed officials have said that core consumer inflation remains too low. now, dozens of army vehicles including tanks and armored personnel carriers are on the streets after bahrain's capital. the militarier intervention follows the sudden crackdown before dawn on thursday when police routed thousands of protesters. dozens were injured and at least three people died in the police assault. the military now are controlling access to the city center and many major streets are closed. just in terms of geography, bahrain is where much of the oil supply is produced and political disruption anywhere in that region can have a powerful affect on market prices. we are joined now with more on how the protests and the crackdown are affecting the
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middle east economy. let's talk about bahrain. what's at stake here? >> it's the home to the fifth fleet for the u.s. military. so it's always the loued bahrain to punch above its weight. it's a conduit and it sits on the eastern flank of saudi arabia. when you sit in bahrain with a population of less than a million people you can drive over the causeway and you're in eastern saudi arabia. so strategically very important. and across the street is iran. it's always been very sensitive. the ruling family captured the island state from the persians in the late 18th century. >> okay. but there's been a time bomb since then. this is a nation where the majority shia population, arab shia population and a minority sunni ruling class, if you like, with above all, the ruling family. so in a sense, there has been pressure for a long time, hasn't there? >> it's always simmered and it alwaysly flares up about once a
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year and this is a whole new e a era. what we've seen is not a surprise. it's just how do you deal with it? the family has decided to deal with it in a very stringent way to put a cap on it. i know the neighbor, saudi arabia, have been watching the situation in the entire region very carefully and now having it on a neighbor's doorstep with is something they're very concerned about. so this is a strategy to try to quell the unrest. it's fair to say most recently, they put together about a half a billion dollar package. that doesn't seem huge but it's not a huge population. that was centered on the shiite population, the low-income earners tore food subsidies and cash handouts to try to quell the unrest we've seen. but it's fair to say, charles, this i'd like to describe as the switzerland of the gulf. they've had very consistent growth. even in the financial crisis they had growth of 3% in 2009. 2010, 4.3%. they haven't had the inflationary pressures that have been pin the gulf.
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you have a minority population ruling the majority, 80% sa very
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